Bug-Out or Bug-In


What's the difference?

In an emergency situation, the decision to “bug-out” or “bug-in” can have a significant impact on your chances of survival. Bugging-out refers to leaving your home and seeking safety elsewhere, while bugging-in means staying put and fortifying your home or sheltering in place.

Having a well-thought-out plan in place for both scenarios is crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of you and your family. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between bugging-out and bugging-in and the various factors that need to be considered when making this decision.

Bugging-out involves leaving your home and traveling to a predetermined location that is considered safer, such as a designated emergency shelter, a remote cabin, or a friend or family member’s home. It often requires having a reliable vehicle, a predetermined destination, and a well-stocked bug-out bag containing essential supplies for survival.

On the other hand, bugging-in means staying put and fortifying your home or sheltering in place. It requires having enough supplies to last for an extended period, including food, water, medical supplies, and security measures.

Having a plan in place for both scenarios is critical in ensuring that you and your loved ones are prepared for any emergency situation that may arise. By being prepared and having a solid plan in place, you can increase your chances of survival during a crisis.


When determining to Bug-Out or Bug-In, the first factor to consider is the nature of the emergency itself. Some emergencies, such as hurricanes, floods, or wildfires, may require evacuation and bugging out to a safer location. In these situations, it’s important to have a plan in place and a predetermined destination to travel to.

The second factor is the location of your residence. If you reside in an urban area, bugging-out may be a more challenging option due to the high population density and potential for gridlock during an emergency. In contrast, rural areas may offer more opportunities for self-sustainability, and bugging in may be a more viable option.

Transportation is also a critical factor to consider. Do you have a reliable vehicle to transport your family and essential supplies? If not, bugging-out may not be a practical option. Additionally, if you have children, elderly, or disabled family members, it may be more challenging to bug-out, and bugging in may be a better choice.

Family considerations are also important. If you have young children or elderly family members, bugging-out may be more challenging, and bugging in may be a better option. However, if you have a designated retreat location that is stocked with supplies, bugging-out may be a viable option.

When it comes to children, it is important to take into account their specific needs and vulnerabilities. Depending on their age and health status, they may require special care, medications, or equipment that could be difficult to transport in a bug-out scenario. Additionally, children may be more susceptible to the stress and trauma of a disaster, so it is important to have a plan in place for how to help them cope and stay safe.

In terms of fitness, being in good physical shape can be an asset in both bugging-out and bugging in scenarios. If you need to evacuate quickly or carry supplies, being physically fit can make a big difference. Similarly, if you need to shelter in place for an extended period, being physically fit can help you better handle the demands of the situation. However, it is important to strike a balance between being prepared and not overexerting yourself, especially if you have health concerns or limitations.

Finally, the availability of resources is a critical factor to consider. Bugging-in requires a robust plan to ensure you have enough supplies to last for an extended period, including food, water, medical supplies, and security measures. Bugging out requires planning for a remote location where you can access the necessary resources.

By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision about whether to bug out or bug in during an emergency situation. It’s essential to have a plan in place for both scenarios and to be prepared to adapt your plan based on the situation as it unfolds.

Pros and Cons

When it comes to deciding whether to bug-out or bug-in during an emergency, there are pros and cons to both options.

One of the advantages of bugging-out is that it allows you to quickly evacuate from a dangerous situation and seek safety elsewhere. This can be particularly useful in the case of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or wildfire, where remaining in your home may put you and your family in danger. Additionally, bugging-out may allow you to access resources that may not be available in your immediate area, such as food, water, and medical supplies.

On the other hand, bugging-in can be advantageous in situations where evacuation is not possible or practical. By fortifying your home and stockpiling supplies, you can create a safe and secure environment for yourself and your family. Additionally, bugging-in may allow you to maintain a sense of normalcy and continuity in your daily life, which can be beneficial for your mental health.

However, there are also potential drawbacks to both options. Bugging-out can be risky if you don’t have a well-planned destination or if you encounter obstacles along the way, such as road closures or dangerous conditions. Bugging-in may also be risky if you are unable to secure your home or if you do not have enough supplies to last for an extended period.

Ultimately, the decision to bug-out or bug-in will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation, and there are pros and cons to each option. It’s important to carefully consider your options and have a well-thought-out plan in place for both scenarios.

Prepare Now

Preparing to Bug-Out or Bug-In requires careful planning and organization to ensure that you have everything you need to survive in the event of an emergency. Here are some steps you can take to prepare:

  1. Assess your situation: Start by evaluating your current living situation and determining if you are better off bugging-in or bugging-out. Consider factors such as the nature of the emergency, your location, transportation options, family considerations, and availability of resources.

  2. Create a plan: Once you have assessed your situation, create a detailed plan that outlines the steps you need to take to either bug-out or bug-in. Your plan should include information on evacuation routes, safe havens, communication methods, and how to secure your home or bug-out location.

  3. Build a Bug-Out Bag (BOB): If you determine that bugging out is the best option, build a bug-out bag that contains essential items such as food, water, clothing, first-aid supplies, and shelter. Make sure to customize your bag to fit your individual needs and include any necessary medications or equipment.

  4. Stockpile supplies: If you plan to bug-in, stockpile essential supplies such as food, water, medical supplies, and security measures. Make sure to rotate your supplies regularly to ensure that they remain fresh and in good condition.

  5. Practice your plan: Once you have your plan and supplies in place, practice implementing your plan with your family or group. This can help you identify any weaknesses in your plan and make necessary adjustments.

By taking these steps to prepare for either bugging out or bugging in, you can increase your chances of survival in the event of an emergency. Remember, the key is to be well-prepared and ready to adapt to changing circumstances.

Bug-In Supplies

Here’s a list of 50 supplies that would be useful for bugging-in:

  1. Water filter or purification tablets
  2. Water containers (such as jugs or buckets)
  3. Non-perishable food items
  4. Manual can opener
  5. Cooking supplies (such as a portable stove, fuel, and pots and pans)
  6. Disposable plates, cups, and utensils
  7. First aid kit
  8. Prescription medications
  9. Over-the-counter medications (such as pain relievers, antihistamines, and stomach remedies)
  10. Personal hygiene items (such as soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper)
  11. Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes
  12. Multi-purpose tool or knife
  13. Flashlights and extra batteries
  14. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  15. Extra blankets or sleeping bags
  16. Warm clothing and shoes
  17. Emergency cash or coins
  18. Important documents (such as IDs, passports, and insurance policies)
  19. Fire extinguisher
  20. Duct tape and contractor trash bags that could be used to create a barrier with the outside
  21. Rope or paracord
  22. Tarp or plastic sheeting
  23. N95 or surgical masks
  24. Gloves
  25. Goggles or eye protection
  26. Whistle
  27. Signal mirror
  28. Compass or GPS
  29. Map of the local area
  30. Solar charger or power bank
  31. Matches or lighters
  32. Candles or lanterns
  33. Portable toilet or buckets
  34. Feminine hygiene products
  35. Baby supplies (such as formula, diapers, and wipes)
  36. Pet supplies (such as food, water, and medications)
  37. Sewing kit
  38. Reading material or games
  39. Insect repellent
  40. Sunscreen
  41. Rain gear
  42. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  43. Garden seeds
  44. Garden tools
  45. Fishing gear
  46. Hunting supplies
  47. Bicycles or other transportation options
  48. Hand-crank or solar-powered generator
  49. Solar or battery-powered fans
  50. Insulated windows and doors

BOB Contents

Here is a list of items that you may consider having in a Bug-Out Bag:

  1. Water filter or purification tablets
  2. Emergency food supply (such as energy bars or MREs)
  3. First aid kit
  4. Multi-tool or survival knife
  5. Firestarter (matches, lighter, or firestarter rod)
  6. Shelter (tent or emergency blanket)
  7. Water container (such as a canteen or hydration bladder)
  8. Map and compass (or GPS device)
  9. Personal documents (identification, insurance, etc.)
  10. Cash and/or gold/silver coins
  11. Spare clothes (appropriate for the climate and season)
  12. Flashlight or headlamp (with extra batteries)
  13. Whistle or signaling device
  14. Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.)
  15. Prescription medications and glasses/contact lenses
  16. Survival manual or guidebook
  17. Solar-powered charger for electronic devices
  18. Duct tape and paracord
  19. Gloves and/or work gloves
  20. Poncho or rain gear
  21. Insect repellent
  22. Water-resistant backpack or dry bags
  23. Hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes
  24. Emergency radio (hand-crank or solar-powered)
  25. Spare phone charger and/or power bank
  26. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  27. Map of the areas you will travel through (National Geographic makesĀ great waterproof/tearproof maps)
  28. Lightweight sleeping bag or bivvy sack
  29. Extra set of keys (car, house, etc.)
  30. Multi-purpose soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)
  31. Fishing line and hooks
  32. Sewing kit and safety pins
  33. N95 respirator mask or similar
  34. Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones
  35. Small mirror for signaling
  36. Camp stove or portable cooking device
  37. Cooking utensils (pot, pan, spatula, etc.)
  38. Water-resistant notepad and pen
  39. Folding saw or hatchet
  40. Binoculars or monocular
  41. Emergency blanket or sleeping bag liner
  42. Spare batteries for all electronic devices
  43. Wire or snare for trapping
  44. Hand warmers or chemical heat packs
  45. Waterproof matches or firestarter cubes
  46. Bear spray or pepper spray
  47. Solar-powered lantern or light stick
  48. Pencil sharpener
  49. Baby wipes or wet wipes
  50. Deck of cards or other small entertainment options.

This list is not exhaustive, and the contents of a bug-out bag may vary depending on individual needs and circumstances.

Evasion Bag

And evasion bag is a small bag (like a fanny pack) that might be more convenient to grab in a pinch. Here are some essential items to include in an evasion bag:

  1. Water bottle or water purification tablets
  2. High-energy snacks like protein bars or jerky
  3. Medical supplies to stop severe hemorrhagingĀ 
  4. Lightweight emergency blanket
  5. Multitool or folding knife
  6. Firestarter like waterproof matches or a lighter
  7. Compass or GPS device
  8. Small signaling device like a whistle or mirror
  9. Paracord or rope
  10. Cash and a copy of important documents like your ID or passport.

Remember that the purpose of an evasion bag is to give you the essentials to survive for a short period while on the move, so it’s important to keep it as lightweight and compact as possible.

Semper Gumbi

When it comes to making the decision to bug out or bug in, it’s important to remain flexible and adaptable to the situation at hand. Even if you have a well-thought-out plan, circumstances can change quickly during an emergency, and you may need to adjust your strategy.

One consideration is to have backup plans in place. For example, if your primary Bug-Out location becomes compromised, do you have a secondary location to retreat to? If not, what other options are available to you? Similarly, if you’re bugging-in, what happens if your supplies start running low? Do you have a plan to restock or ration your resources?

It’s also crucial to stay informed and aware of the situation. If you’re bugging-in, monitor news updates and be prepared to evacuate if the situation worsens. If you’re bugging-out, keep an eye on road closures and other obstacles that may impede your travel.

Another important consideration is the potential need for outside assistance. If you’re bugging in, you may need to rely on emergency services or other resources for help. If you’re bugging out, you may need to be self-sufficient for an extended period until help arrives.

Ultimately, the decision to bug out or bug in is a complex one that requires careful consideration of a variety of factors. By having a well-thought-out plan, remaining adaptable, and having backup options in place, you can increase your chances of surviving an emergency situation.


As stated previously, when faced with an emergency situation, the decision to Bug-Out or Bug-In can have a profound impact on your chances of survival. By considering factors such as the nature of the emergency, location of residence, transportation, family considerations, and availability of resources, you can make an informed decision on whether to bug out or bug in.

Both options have their pros and cons, and it’s important to prepare accordingly. If you decide to Bug-Out, ensure that you have a well-stocked Bug-Out Bag, a reliable means of transportation, and a designated safe location. On the other hand, if you choose to Bug-In, fortify your home with adequate supplies, security measures, and a backup power source.

It’s also crucial to remain adaptable and have a backup plan in case circumstances change. By being prepared, you can increase your chances of survival during a crisis.

In the end, the importance of being prepared cannot be overstated. Emergencies can happen at any time, and having a well-thought-out plan can mean the difference between life and death. By taking the necessary steps to prepare for both bugging-out and bugging-in, you can ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and your loved ones.

Additional Resources

Here are some external sources that may provide additional information and insights on the topic of bugging out vs. bugging in:

  1. Ready.gov: This website, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides detailed information on how to prepare for and respond to various types of emergencies, including natural disasters, pandemics, and terrorist attacks.

  2. American Red Cross: The American Red Cross offers a variety of resources and training programs to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies, including guidance on how to create a disaster preparedness plan and build a disaster supply kit.

  3. The Prepper Journal: This website offers a wealth of information on emergency preparedness and survival, including articles on bugging out and bugging in, as well as tips on how to build a bug-out bag and prepare your home for an emergency.

  4. SurvivalBlog.com: This popular blog focuses on all aspects of survivalism, including emergency preparedness, self-sufficiency, and homesteading. The site offers a range of articles and resources on bugging out vs. bugging in, as well as other topics related to survivalism.

  5. The Survival Mom: This website, run by Lisa Bedford, offers practical tips and advice on emergency preparedness for families, including guidance on how to create a bug-out plan and build a bug-out bag.

  6. Graywolf Survival: This website, run by a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, offers a wealth of information on emergency preparedness and survival, including articles on bugging out and bugging in, as well as tips on self-defense and wilderness survival.

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